A number of high-profile women are chipping at the “cement ceiling” in the Gulf countries and making it possible for others to do the same.
When Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi stepped into a role as head of IT strategy for transport services company Dubai Ports World, she was an anomaly in many ways. She was an engineer working on a complex, technical initiative that required a great deal of interaction with the members of the C-suite; a local from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) working with a large number of expatriates; and a female executive in the male-dominated maritime industry. “I was the first senior woman coming on board, and it was a tough challenge,” she says. “I would have to explain to executives how I was going to deliver, and there was always a question: ‘How much can I rely on you?’”
Pictured above L to R: Muna AbuSulayman, Haifa Jamal AlLail, Sheikha Hanadi Al Thani Photographer credits L to R: courtesy of Muna AbuSulayman; courtesy of Haifa Jamal AlLail; © Fadi Al-Assaad/REUTERS